Classic story of a creature made of clay that comes to life and causes havok. Silent film starring Paul Wegener. Unrestored print, public domain.
May 1, 2016
classic silent movie
Rabbi Loew is an elderly tyrannic single family-father, hobby-astronomer and future-teller. He sees the whole jewish community threatened. The movie doesn't mainly appear as a narrative about anti-semitism to me, although the emperor bans all jews from the city-territory and sets an ultimatum for their leave with an edict. They are said to 'endanger the lives and property of their fellow-men, practise black magic and disrespect christianity'.
The plot is not shown in correct chronological order. Rabbi Loew, the old insane clay-head made up and made his alter ego, the Golem, from clay as an excuse for his own violent derailments and threats against his family. So it looks pretty much like a story about domestic violence, also featuring some sort of love-affair between knight Florian, the bringer of the bad news and Loew's daughter Miriam. The hyperbolic symmetry in the story is between the jewish community and Loew's own family, he is generally seen to be like a father.
The Golem is presented to the public as the family's new servant, it has a pentagram on it's chest, not a David's star, that triggers it's activity. Loew brings the Golem to a festival at the castle, the rabbi's magic story-telling causes great laughter in the audience, but the Golem finally saves the show by keeping the roof of the building from collapsing, serving as a living pillar, so the jewish people is pardoned.
Back home Loew disables the Golem, when it starts turning against himself, but it is reactivated by his family-members, badly threatens Miriam and Florian, the knight is even killed and the family's house is set on fire while the rabbi does service at the synagoge. Unconscious Miriam is kidnapped by the demon, the fire destroys the whole house.
In the end the pentagram is taken from the Golem's chest by a small child, presumably it is off forever. The community thanks the rabbi for reinstalling safety for them, Loew thanks god.